Union Oyster House named North America’s Best Landmark Restaurant by World Culinary Awards

"We're very excited," said Joe Milano, owner of Union Oyster House.

Union Oyster House. David L. Ryan / The Boston Globe

An inaugural event celebrating restaurants from across the globe has named Union Oyster House as North America’s Best Landmark Restaurant.

The World Culinary Awards, which launched in 2019, are the sister program to the 27-year-old World Travel Awards. The 2020 winners, announced on Dec. 31, are broken down by continents and countries, and include categories like “Asia’s Best New Restaurant,” “Latvia’s Best Hotel Restaurant,” and “Latin America’s Best Culinary Destination” (that would be Peru).

Union Oyster House — established in 1826 and known as the oldest restaurant in Boston — was awarded North America’s Best Landmark Restaurant, beating out other esteemed nominees that included Katz’s Delicatessen in New York, Arnaud’s in New Orleans, and Tadich Grill in San Francisco. Other winners in the North America category include Le Bernadin for Best Restaurant, Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel for Best Hotel Restaurant, and Joey Shipyards in Canada for Best New Restaurant.


“We’re very excited,” Joe Milano, owner of the Union Oyster House, told “I think I speak for all of us at the restaurant. We were the only one [nominated] in Massachusetts, so it’s good to be the only one from your own state.”

Milano said receiving the award was a good start to a year following one that has been upended by the pandemic.

“This whole pandemic has had us all up in the air,” Milano said. “The hope is the vaccine. The vaccine is out. I wish there was a little more organization on the distribution part, but I think like everything — we’ve never been through this before, and that will improve. I personally can’t wait to take the vaccine when my turn comes.”

This is not, of course, the first award bestowed upon Union Oyster House: It has been on “best of” lists from Condé Nast Traveler, Lonely Planet, Forbes, and others. The restaurant most recently served as a filming location for the pilot of HBO Max’s “Julia,” a potential series about Julia Child.

According to its website, the London-based World Culinary Awards were “developed in reaction to overwhelming demand from the culinary industry for a programme that was fair and transparent; a programme with a mission to serve as the definitive benchmark of excellence, and to help to foster a new era of growth on a global scale.” Votes came from the public and industry professionals.


Find a complete list of winners here.

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